Quo Vadis, Simon Favre, Jr.?

   Also: the success path of Isaac Graves
 
            The search for Simon Favre, son of Simon Favre and Rebecca Austin, has once more brought attention to the Lawrence County papers. For clarity in following what is put forth below, it is noted that those documents relate to a period after the death of the father, running from about 1813 to 1827. They were transmitted to Lawrence County in the 1840’s. It is believed that legal actions of the later years relate to the younger Simon.
            It is also believed that there were dynamics affecting his life which were engendered by Isaac Graves, the second husband of the widow Favre.
 
Simon Favre, Jr.
            Maybe his name was not Simon Favre, Jr. It is the way I have come to think of him. And to be more precise, I should not inquire where he is going, but where did he go. It is one of the mysteries of the Favre study. We know when he was born and by whom he was given his birth. We know where he was baptized with the name Simon Favre and that even though illegitimate he was acknowledged in the will of his father. He was to be left a large amount of money.
 
            With all that information, it seems we would be able to follow him and anticipate finding that his development as another of the large Favre family would be of historical interest. After all, he had the blood of at least three generations of strong men, men who made their mark on early Louisiana. His grandfather was probably the first white man to settle on the Pearl River in Hancock County. His father, like his own father and grandfather, was a trusted interpreter to the Choctaws. He was held in high esteem also by those who needed a mediator of unusual abilities not only in communications but also in diplomatic acumen. His talents were employed by the French, the English, the Spanish and of course the Americans.
            It is hard to believe that a son of Simon could disappear without leaving his own mark. Perhaps he did so, but it is possible that we do not know his real name.
 
Lawrence County
            Most of what follows is covered elsewhere on this web site, much of it in articles like “Lawrence County Archives – Simon Favre,” but a review may help in the pursuit of the person whom I choose to call Simon Favre, Jr.
            It must be clearly explained from the outset that the documents quoted through most of this study involve the estate of Simon Favre in Hancock County. Likewise, the court actions described emanated from courts of Hancock, at least through the year 1827. These papers are called the Lawrence County files, because that county is the source. Hancock’s files were destroyed in the Gainesville Courthouse fire of 1853.
            Another wrinkle, however, must be understood: the documents in years after 1827 are believed to pertain to legal actions in Lawrence County.
 
Three Families
            Stories told and retold over the years have said that Simon Favre the father had at least three families. One was his Indian family, into which Pushmataha and his princess daughter are introduced by legend. I will give quick shrift to this, except to say that in recent months some evidence has been obtained to give validity to a marriage of Favre to the daughter of an important chief, named Franchimastubbe. It is in the nature of an affidavit attesting to that marriage. Marco Giardino, in studying Simon’s closeness to the noted French official, Delavillesbeuvre, and the latter’s close dealings with the chief, concludes that there would have been ample opportunity for a liaison to form between Simon and the chief’s daughter.  
            The union of Simon Favre with a Choctaw princess continues to be studied, especially by those who are descended from them.
            The second relationship is one which allows us to see some details, including the baptism of the son and the will which mentions him. There is also an exchange of slaves between his mother and his father, which I believe involves the boy indirectly. It is this anomaly which invites curiosity about the son.
            The third is of course the one most Favre researchers are familiar with, the marriage between Simon Favre and Celeste Rochon. It is not an easy matter to know the facts of the marriage without an earnest inquisitiveness about the relationship of Simon with his presumed mistress, Rebecca (also, Rosalia) Austin (also, Auston, Osten, Ousten, Orton, or Ostein).
            One fact stands out like a missing link: the slave exchange occurred the day before the wedding.
 
            Baptism at St. Louis Cathedral
            Perhaps the best way to begin will be in time sequence, which, according to my file, brings forth firstly the baptism of young Simon Favre. I have two documents from the same ultimate source, and even here there is a seeming contradiction. The first is a “certified direct translation of the original entry of St. Louis Cathedral Achives.” It is said to be from Book of Baptisms 3 (7196-1802), Page 108, Act 708. It reads as follows:
            “On this eighteenth day of February of this year of eighteen hundred: I, Fr. Antonio de Sedella, Religious Capuchin, Cure of this Holy Cathedral Church of New Orleans, baptized with the pure and Holy Oils, a small boy, who was born on the fifth of this present month, son of SIMON FAVRE, native of this city, and of ROSALIA OSTEIN, native of Tombemberg district of Mobile, and presently residents of this city. The paternal grandparents being JUAN FAVRE and MARGARITA WILZ, and the names of the maternal grandparents being unknown. And having exercised the Holy Ceremonies with the prayers given him the saintly name of SIMON. Standing for godparents being Don FRANCISCO FONTANILLA and Dona ZELESTE GRAVELLE, who have been advised of their spiritual relationship, and in faith I have signed,
                                                                                             “Fr. Antonio de Sedella”
[Editor’s note: Although not important to the subject being explored, I find it appropriate to point out to anyone interested this history, that the witnessing priest was none other than the beloved Pere Antoine.]
 
            The other reference is taken from Wilderness Families of the Gulf Coast, by Placide Necaise. The facts are essentially the same, except that Francisco Fontanilla and Zeleste Gravelle are clearly shown as maternal grandparents (abbreviated as “mpg”), not simply stand-ins for the godparents.  The reference is “SLC B 14, 108.”
            In trying to gain information about the parents of Rebecca, I have been relying on the second version.  Further research would seem to bear out this acceptance. I can only speculate about the various spellings of Rebecca’s last name; similarly, she may not have used the name of her father as it is possible that she had been married previously. [Another Ostein was alive and active in this period. He was Juan Ostein, who bought a slave named Victoria at New Orleans in 1798.]
            Exhaustive searches have been made to find where Rebecca lived, where she died and where she was buried. All were without satisfaction.
 
A Slave Trade
            The slave database created by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall has been invaluable in this investigation. One item in particular is a slave trade between Favre and Rebecca. While this has long since excited my interest, the result of the swap is not in itself significant. Favre wound up with a young female slave and her two young children; Rebecca got two females of fairly young ages, 20 and 10.
            The trade date was March 24, 1801; young Simon had been born on February 5, 1800. Maybe she needed more female help in raising her son. I can only speculate.
            Of utmost interest is that the trade took place the day before Favre’s marriage to Celeste Rochon. Why? There must be a reason. Could both events be the result of an intense agreement of all parties? It must be so, as coincidences like this do not even make good fiction.
 
New Information from the Translation
            The original document evidencing the trade, written in script in 200-year old Spanish, has been found in the New Orleans archives and has been partially translated, as follows:
“(in margin : exchange Simon Favre and Rebecha Oston)
“Let it be known by this manuscript how we, Don Simon Favre on the one hand, and Rebecca Oston, on the other, both inhabitants of this city, declare, I first, that I personally own two slaves named Constanza, 20 years of age, and Ortanza, a young ten-year-old half-caste [mulatica]. The former belongs to me because I have purchased her from Doña Gertrudis Guerrero and the latter from Leoro [?] Trycion [?] by a deed authorized by […] notary ; and I, Rebecha Oston, that I own a female negra named Enriqueta with two daughters [?], one named Betty and the other still suckling and without a name having not yet been baptized, whom I bought by deed in front of the same notary as the said Favre, having decided to exchange the ones against the others X.
“2/ ordering the correct execution of our common will and in conscience [ ?] we exchange and transfer [concambiamos y permutamos] by both our voices and our right of ownership exchanged and transferred, one part towards the other, and the latter towards the former respectively, for now and forever, we transfer, we exchange and we […], that is to say I, the said Don Simon Favre, I part with and in fact I give and transfer to the aforesaid Rebecha Oston the negra woman (word deleted) and the young half-caste, Constanza and Ortanza, and I Oston, in turn, in exchange for the negra woman and the young half-caste transmitted to me by Favre, I part with and in fact I give and transfer the aforementioned negra woman Enrica and her two daughters, Betty and the nameless suckling babe, and in that manner in the city of New Orleans, the 24th of March 1801. I, the Very Excellent, am the one who knows the […] who signed it […] Don Felipe Guimault [?] Don Antonio Bon […] and Don Antonio Fromentin, neighbors and […]
“Signatures : Simon Favre – Rebecha Oston” 
            The translation, while much appreciated, did not substantially change what we knew from the simple comment in the slave database to the effect that it was an exchange. There is one thing, however, that proved fruitful. This is the revelation of the identity of the slave seller Guerrero, who sold a girl named Constanza to Favre. The seller’s name helped to find the details of Guerrero's sale to Favre of a young mother named Enriquetta and her two daughters. (It would not have been found searching under the name “Favre” because Favre’s name in the sales by Guerrero was spelled “Fare.”)
            The important find is that the latter sale was dated October 29, 1799, only about a year and a half before the transfer. A reasonable assumption is that Simon and Rebecca were still together and that Favre bought this 30-year old woman to be helpful to Rebecca Austin (Osten) who was about five months pregnant for young Simon, Jr.
            Enriquetta and her two daughters were then sold by Favre to Rebecca on February 20, 1801, one month before the written agreement, which was dated March 24, 1801. The exchange had Favre wind up with Enriquetta (also called Enrica) and her two daughters. Rebecca kept Constanza (age 20) and Ortanza (age 10), who must have been more to her advantage. Maybe she did not want to have Enriquetta's two young children around (ages 6 and 0) as they would have been competition for her own child.
 
            Less confusing may be a listing of those pertinent sales which could be found in the database; (spellings are rendered as found in the documents):
10/29/99: Enrieta, Female 30, sold by Guerrero to Simon Fare [sic]
(same) Enrieta’s daughter Bette, F 4, sold by Guerrero to Fare
2/20/01: Henriqueta, (Enrieta) F 32, sold by Favre to Ousten
(same) Henriqueta’s daughter Betty, F 6, sold by Favre to Ousten
(same) Henriqueta”s daughter “unnamed”, F 0, sold by Favre to Ousten
3/24/01: Constanza, F 20, sold by Favre to Ousten
(same) Ortanza, F 10, sold by Favre to Ousten
 
 2/20/10-Hortense (Ortanza), Female 24, sold by Auston to Blache
(same) Her two children, Registe, M 4, and Louis, M 4/10, sold by Auston to Blache
5/1/11: Rachelle, F 27, sold by Blache, test. exec. of Auston, to Ursin (free negro)
[N.B. Auston having made a sale on February 20, 1810, and Blache, her testamentary executor, having a sale on her behalf on May 1, 1811, seems to indicate that she died between those dates. [Cf. below, discussion of inclusion in Simon’s will of money from Rebecca’s estate.]
 
            The wedding between Favre and Celeste Rochon took place on March 25, 1801, one day after the agreement that spelled out the exchange of slaves. It is evident that the parting of the ways of Favre and Rebecca was being negotiated some time before the exchange. The juxtaposition of happenings cannot be adjudged to be meaningless.
 
            There is sketchy information about the presumed parents of Rebecca. A few facts given below indicate that they were trusted and perhaps substantial people of Mobile. Perhaps they forced a settlement from Favre in favor of their daughter just before he married.
 
            I realize that there is in the above some speculation on my part. I do not want to fictionalize our Favre history, but to offer some possibilities in the event that further evidence unfolds sometime in the future.
 
Fate of Simon, Jr. – a Mystery
            All of this, I believe, has something to tell about the fate of the child of Rebecca. He was, after all, acknowledged by Simon in his will, and a large sum of money was carved out for him. Moreover, he was the half-brother to the legitimate children of Simon and Celeste, and therefore in the collateral line of those seeking genealogical evidence as Favre descendants.
            Baptized in the St. Louis Cathedral of New Orleans, he was named Simon. For simplicity, maybe we should give him the name Simon, Jr. It should be considered that later Rebecca may have given him a different name, as it is virtually impossible to follow him in later years.
            Also, there is precious little known about his grandfather, the father of Rebecca. We believe his name was Francisco Fontanilla, who is mentioned in our Spanish documents only once, as a witness to someone’s will. Her mother was Zeleste Gravelle, about whom I can find nothing.
            A little help comes from Mobile history. Colonial Mobile by Hamilton, p. 266,  tells of Francis Fontanilla and Joseph Colomb exchanging houses on Royal St. in Mobile in 1786. Also, around St. Stephen’s in Mobile he was engaged in considerable activity. He was assistant to Eslava in 1795. He was keeper of the king’s store at the post next to the fort, having been given the title in 1798. He was given a grant of 20 arpents front one league from fort.
            Marco found also that Fontanilla moved to the St. Stephen area around 1792, and was given 800 arpens on Tombecbee by Governor Carondelet in 1793. He remained in the area until at least 1798. He conveyed a lot in Mobile on Royal St. October 19, 1786 to J. Colomb.
            An incident reported in 1793 tells of Fontanilla being involved in the capture of a female slave valued at $350. She had run away and been captured by Indians but was ransomed for $100 before Indians could kill her. The Spanish Commandant asked Fontanilla to take charge of her.
            Simon Favre left Fort Confederation on the Tombigbee and moved to St. Stephen after 1797. The house and lot were opposite the house of Augustin Rochon, whose daughter Celeste married Simon. Simon also lived on Royal St.
 
            Surely, all these families knew each other.
 
Search Continues for Simon, Jr.
            The above information, however, is not much to help to find what happened to Simon, Jr., but it seems to show that his grandparents were substantial people in the Mobile area. It is possible that something can be found in Mobile history, but that will be a different investigation.
            Once more, the Lawrence County archives offer hope. It seems unavoidable that   there was a connection of young Simon, Jr. to Lawrence County. There are indications in the papers that Simon, Jr. may never have received his inheritance. The revelation that  another party may have been assigned his interest does not clarify much, but it may be that the assignee lived in Lawrence County.
 
            At any rate, all pursuits have led nowhere to date. I believe that the reason for the transference of Favre estate papers to Lawrence has to do with the pursuit of Simon, Jr.’s inheritance. I suspect that Isaac Graves, the new husband of the widowed Celeste Favre, was involved in not wanting that distribution to be made by the estate. I think that the legal action continued much later, documents being dated as late as 1847, years after Simon’s death. I think the ambitions of Graves were continued by his two sons in a suit against John Favre in 1845, the copies of which are also in the Lawrence County papers. 
 
“Such Is my Will.”
            The will of Simon Favre is more fully discussed in other articles. Of principle importance here is Simon’s desire to pass on something to his illegitimate son. His words were the following:
“Item. I bequeath to Simon Favre aged twelve years, son of Robeca Auston, the sum of Fifteen hundred dollars to be deducted from my Estate, and to be delivered to him, when he shall attain the age of majority, I have likewise belonging to him a Sum of Three thousand three hundred forty-seven dollars three reals, coming from his mother’s Estate, which will be delivered to him when he will be of age, I wish him to be taught to read, write, and a good trade, such is my will.”
            The will was dated at New Orleans, May 18, 1812. It is evident that Rebecca has died, as Simon Favre mentions money he is holding from her estate. Other information about slave sales offers a clue as to when she died. She sold slave Hortense and her two children (twins?) to Jean Blache on February 20, 1810, using her name as Rosalie Auston. The following May 1, the same Blache, acting of testamentary executor of Rosalie Rebeca Auston, bought slave Rachelle from her estate. It can be reasoned that she died sometime between those two dates.
            This would have been the year previous to the date of Favre’s will.
            It is noted that Blache bought 27-year old Rachelle for 495 pesos, whereas the selling price for 24-year old Hortense and her two children was 1200 pesos. Perhaps these funds were part of the money held by Simon as he mentions in his will.
            A calculation of Favre’s net estate a few years later indicates that he had allocated for son Simon about the same amount from his own estate as the amount he figured to go to each of his children born of Celeste Rochon. [The math for anyone desirous of the figures: Net estate was $20,575, from which was to be deducted $1500 and $3,347, leaving $17,228, ½ of which was to go to Celeste directly, the other ½ for 5 children, or $1,728 each.]
            Out of these details come a couple of observations. Favre was protective of son Simon, as was Rebecca. She was also on decent terms with Favre, and apparently arranged for her estate, or at least part of it, to be handled by Favre on behalf on young Simon. Obviously, they shared a concern for the child.
            A different calculation, an unfortunate one, was made by Favre when he gave his wife Celeste power over his estate. Perhaps she was not the woman he expected her to be. Perhaps she was simply overpowered by her new husband, Isaac Graves.
            Thirty-plus years later, his wishes were still being thwarted.
 
Executors of the Will
It was not Favre’s lack of planning that allowed part of his estate to go awry. In fact, I believe that even a modern lawyer would agree that it was a well thought-out, well written document. He was careful to name certain people to certain tasks, and he picked good ones, wealthy professional farmers like himself who knew what they were doing. The testamentary executor was to be Arman Duplantier[1], a man of great wealth and power in Louisiana. He was married to Constance Rochon, sister to Celeste. Fergus Duplantier, son of Arman, was to be curator of the children. Celeste was made tutrix of the children, and was to share with Duplantier the power to act “extrajudicially to recover, sell, cause to be sold, receive, grant receipts….” She was allowed similar actions to “the interest of my family.” Appraisers for the estate inventory were to be chosen by Celeste, Duplantier and their curator.
The will was clear.
            Over and over, he said, “Such is my will.” But he also gave Celeste “the possession of all my estate and I wish that as soon as my children become of age she give to each of them whatever may be coming to them.” Perhaps it was this clause that allowed his intentions to be frustrated, for soon the Duplantiers were dismissed for a patently weak reason. Celeste and Isaac Graves were successful in having them removed form any official capacity because they were residents of Louisiana and therefore said to be unable to serve in Mississippi.
            At one point Joseph Chalon turned up as executor in a suit in New Orleans. This fact is still not understood.[2] Moreover, in later documents, Chalon appears giving bond with Celeste jointly as an administrator. Nothing can be found to justify Chalon as executor. What is clear is that Celeste eventually remarried, this time to one Isaac Graves. We do not know when they married, but it seems to have been in 1819 or before. We know very little about him before the marriage.
            In truth, there was not much to know.
 
A Man named Isaac Graves
            In 1812, Graves was on the Tax Rolls for Marion County, paying minimum for one white person, $1.00, signifying that he owned nothing of value.  In 1819, Tax Rolls show Graves with 2,760 acres and 25 slaves.
            Meanwhile, there was other information about Isaac Graves being reported. On the Tax Rolls of Lawrence County for 1814, Graves still had no property; he paid the
minimum tax of 66 cents. In 1815, he was one of many who petitioned Congress because he was unable to make payments on land because of Creek War and War of 1812.
            Census records are also revealing. In 1820 Graves appears as having no slaves, at variance with the tax roll of 1819, but it is evident that about that time he had acquired substantial properties. By 1830, he had owned 41 slaves, with a like number in 1840. In that year the census shows he was between 70 and 80 years old. Presumably he died either in 1840 or soon afterward.
 
Lawrence County Papers Revisited
            It must be recalled that the fire at Hancock County in 1853 destroyed most of the old documents, including probate files and deeds. It was a genuine find to discover the bundle of Favre papers at Lawrence County, but they are not a complete record of what followed after the death of Simon Favre. There are gaps in the information, much of it copied and transmitted from New Orleans, apparently in connection with legal actions – still not fully understood – at Lawrence County years after the death of Simon Favre.
            At best, an attempt at chronology is in order, beginning just before the death of Favre on July 3, 1813. Emphasis is on events involving Celeste and Isaac Graves as they take on official capacities in the resolution of the estate.
 
June 15, 1814: Inventory of personal property submitted to Chief Justice of the Orphan Court by appraisers Celeste Favre, Jos. Chalon, N. Babin, J. Williams, and Noel Jourdan. Note that this group does not conform to the will. [An orphan court was a probate court with jurisdiction over the affairs of minors and the administration of estates.]
 
June 28, 1814: Bond given by Celeste Favre and Joseph Chalon for administration of estate. Bond is in amount $40,000, covering John and Noel Jourdan as well.
 
July 5, 1814: Noel Jourdan adds his own correction to first inventory. Writing ”N.B.” in large letters, he certified that a mistake was made in including 450 head of cattle instead of 225, and the other 225 belonged to the children.
In the exposition of the Favre estate, 56 slaves were owned by Favre. What seems to be missing in the valuation of the estate is the sale of slaves other than 35 for
which we have Dr. Hall’s records. A guess might involve Isaac Graves.
 
October 5, 1814: Second inventory submitted by same appraisers, with exception of Celeste. She signs at end, apparently accepting account.
 
Order to Pay Legacy
            From the last of the 1814 documents, the Lawrence county papers skip to ten years later. The next is an “Order to pay legacy,” dated August 14, 1824. It is at this point that it becomes apparent that the above actions were being reviewed for a separate civil action with copied documents involving Simon Favre, Jr. The order emanated from Roger Heron, Judge of Probate, Hancock County. It was here recited that the son Simon Favre had reached the proper age to receive the $1,500 promised in his father’s will, and that he had sworn “an oath that he has not himself nor anyone for him received the whole or any part of the said legacy….”
            Nothing was said of the $3,347 that was also mentioned in the will as having come from the boy’s mother.
 
Order to Set Aside
            Next, at the February term of the court in 1825, was the acceptance of a motion by PRR Pray, identified as the “attorney for Isaac Graves and Celest [sic] his wife Executors of Simon Favre deceased….” It was “ordered that the decree rendered by Roger A. Heron late judge [Italics by this writer] of Probate against the Executors in favor of Jesse Depew assignee of Simon Favre be set aside for want of legality in obtaining it and also as the sade [sic] estate is not yet finally settled with costs….” It was signed February 28, 1825 by Noel Jourdan, Judge of Probate.
            It would be interesting to know whether Judge Heron was deceased, or simply replaced.
            Following the decision above, favorable to Celeste and Graves, a “Petition for Partition of Real Estate” was looked upon kindly by the “new judge… judge of the Probate and ex-officio presiding justice of the county of Hancock.”
             It was claimed that the said Graves “in right of his wife and his said wife in her own right [illeg] possess in common and undivided of the moiety”  a tract of land on Pearl River at lower line of Pearlington and measuring 1600 arpents. As half was to be owned by the children under the will, they were desirous that their half be set off by commissioners. The document reads that they were “claiming the same by virtue of a deed from the representatives of the estate of Nelson Carmen made to her while sold and dated at New Orleans October 9, 1813, a copy of which is hereunder annexed…and made part of this petition.” (N.B. This copy is not found with the Lawrence County file.)
            Graves and Celeste then referred to the minor children and asked that Fergus Duplantier, who had been named in the will to care for the children, be removed from his duties, because “he resides permanently out of this state and beyond the Jurisdiction of this court and has never acted in said capacity as curator.” They then prayed that a guardian be appointed.
            The above was signed by EW Ripley, attorney for Graves and his wife. (It is noted that Graves has become the person named first, followed by Celeste.) Graves then made a request that Judge Roger Herron appoint three men.
            On July 12, 1826, Graves made a “petition for dower.” This was a request that the “tract of land at Pearlington” be considered separate from the lands belonging to the other heirs.  The following judges presided: Noel Jourdan, John B. Toulme, and Isaac Graves.
 
Credits and Debits—1826
            It was then that a final statement of the executors of the estate of Simon Favre was presented by Rutilius Pray. Submitted to the court for its October 1826 term, it was headed “Exposition.”
            Part A was a valuation of what was perceived to be the worth or assets including slaves, cattle, horses, a schooner, and lands.
            Part B of the Exposition listed substantial debts. This also was at variance with the will, which appears to have treated debts lightly.
One item that stands out in the above figures is that the Mississippi estimate, made by landed neighbors and ranking officials, was far lower than the actual sale value. This is even more remarkable when considering that the estimate was for fifty-six slaves, whereas the sale was for far fewer.
A notice following the above was signed by Celeste as “Ex”; I. Graves signed as “Hus of Ex.” 
 
Final Decree—1827
            In the November court term of 1827, another decree was made. In stating “the prayer of the petitioner is granted,” it also recited “sale has been made of all the remaining lands belonging to the said estate.” An accounting shows that four parcels were sold, as follows: a tract of 600 arpents on the West Pearl in Louisiana bought by Benjamin Singletary for $600; a tract of 640 acres on the east bank of the Pearl at a place called the “Waist House”; a tract of 958 acres on the East Pearl, called Favre’s Old Place; a tract of 640 acres on the Pearl River at Walkaya Bluff. The last three tracts were bought by Isaac Graves for a total of $1,740. 
            Noel Jourdan acted as auctioneer.
 
Relation to Documents of 1840’s
Official copies of Simon Favre’s estate flooded Lawrence County during the 1840 period. They came from New Orleans and Hancock County. Almost all seem to be hand copies of the will, the marriage document, inventories of the property, and court documents through 1827.
 Beyond that year, many copies were transmitted in the 1840’s.  A copy of the will was sent by Louisiana in 1842; another was copied in Hancock County. One bundle labeled “Estate of Simon Favre” was sent “with answers of Defendants Exhibit”; it was filed January 28, 1845. New Orleans sent a copy of the marriage certificate of Simon and Celeste in January 1847. Unfortunately, we do not have any papers which definitively explain the negotiations.
 Only one may relate directly to this matter, that involving the sons of Isaac Graves, John and James. It is an action in which they bind themselves in the amount of $200 in a case against defendants John Favre et al. It was pending in the Superior Court of Chancery for the Southern District of Mississippi. It was signed in the presence of Edwin Russ, and dated October 10, 1845. John Favre was probably Simon Favre’s first son, born in 1802. Maybe there was property that the Graves sons still coveted thirty year after the death of Simon Favre.
 
One other document, not in the Lawrence bundle, was happened upon in Hancock County Deed Book C. It is listed as a deed, but is curious in its lack of clarity as to the ability of the sellers to be able to offer any proof of ownership of what they are selling.
It is dated the 27th of November, 1844, and purported  to be a sale by John and James Graves to one Nat. L. Mitchell. The land involved was 1,000 acres known as the Pearl Town tract. [This has come to be identified as the town of Napoleon.] James and John stated that their father, Isaac Graves, now deceased, had bought the land from the Simon Favre estate, from which it was sold at auction to pay debts of the estate. The price paid by Isaac was said to be $800. Unfortunately, it is averred by John, he was in Florida at the time of his father’s death, and his brother was a minor. Moreover, their father –“from neglect or otherwise” – had failed to obtain a deed from the executors of the said Favre estate.
It was not mentioned that the father had been, together with Celeste, one of the executors.
Because of the inability of the Graves sons to lay claim to the property, the heirs of Simon Favre had taken possession of the land and “ever since kept it from the claimants.”
We know nothing of the financial acumen of Nat. L. Mitchell, but he paid $500 for what James and John said was “Whatever be our legal rights” to the said tract.
 
The Road to Monticello, MS
 I am informed that the trip on I-10 and I-55 from New Orleans through Laplace and McComb to Monticello takes just a pleasant two hours and fifteen minutes. I may even stop at a German graveyard just across the Louisiana/Mississippi line to see some of the burials of folks who had come out of Gainesville, MS.
The purpose of course would be to see what the archives of Lawrence County may hold in files labeled Depew or Graves. Who knows, I may even find something with names like Austin or Fontanilla.
            Perhaps a trip to Monticello, the county seat of Lawrence, is in order. Meanwhile, I offer a summary, a paraphrase from the book by Beauregard Favre, Favre Histree 1719 to 1989:Graves took all for his two sons.
 
Postscript
            A number of suits against the estate of Simon Favre and others against the Widow Favre were recorded in the First Judicial Court of Orleans in the years beginning with 1814. No attempt is made here to analyze these suits. What is significant is that from the earliest the widow and Joseph Chalon were acting as executors of the estate.
            Incidentally, some of these involve Peytavin and Reynaud, important parties in the last posting, that being about the Pirate House. In one such, Joseph Chalon and the Widow Favre refer to themselves as “testamentary executors of Simon Favre.”
 
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[1] Armand Duplantier was an important personage in the Louisiana of the time. The builder of Magnolia Mound in Baton Rouge, he was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a close friend of the Marquis de Lafayette. He also commanded troops against the Kemper revolt of 1804.

[2] Suit in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, dated July 31, 1815, a petition by Joseph Chalon and Widow of Simon Fabre [sic] against Auguste Peytavin regarding promissory note having to do with purchase of a slave with a disability from Favre estate. Court list Chalon and Widow Favre as “testamentary executors.”